Saturday, 20 March 2021

Animal Crossing: New Horizons | First Impressions

Hello everyone! Today is the one-year anniversary of the super cute Nintendo game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so I thought what better day than today to finally share my long-awaited first impressions review of the game! It's taken me so long to write about the fifth edition to the the Animal Crossing franchise, because playing it has gradually taken over my life, haha!! I'm late to the game and I'm sure as heck making up for it. Go hard or go home? Although, play hard and stay home seems more appropriate nowadays :D Anyhow, if you follow me over on social media, you will likely have seen that for Christmas, my sister got herself a Nintendo Switch, plus surprised me with the AC:NH game! And I am OBSESSED. For fellow fans of this absolutely adorable game, or those of you who have witnessed the hype and been unsure whether or not to join in, here are my opinions. I hope you all enjoy reading!

So, I currently don't have a Switch of my own and thus I've been playing AC:NH via my sister's game (after we discovered you could only have a one island per console! Cheeky Nintendo... gone are the days of buying shared consoles for your kids, I guess?), but yeah, this means that I'm not the 'resident representative' on the island and therefore don't get the 'perks' that come along with that. I have had a go at playing as my sister's islander though, so I know what you can do. I am currently saving for my own Nintendo Switch, and then I'll finally be ready to experience the interactive elements of New Horizons, such as visiting with friends. But my review is of the game options themselves and it doesn't really matter that my islander has not done any travelling yet.

A colourful showing showing a coral nintendo switch console, an animal crossing new horizons game, and two amiibo cards, an orange one with a frog character, and a pink one with a goat character

I'm rambling, as per, so let's get into my thoughts and feelings, likes and dislikes. It's worth noting that I am basing my opinions in comparison to the 'old school' Animal Crossing: Wild World game, that was released back in 2005. My first handheld console was a Nintendo DS lite, a pink one to be specific, and AC:WW was one of my first games, as well as Nintendogs. (Oh my gosh, Nintendo! Please make this happen for the Switch!!). I never played the previous edition, New Leaf, so apologies if I think something about New Horizons is fantastic, only for it to have also been a thing back in 2012. So, now that my disclaimer(?) is out of the way, what were my initial thoughts about AC:NH? 

Upon creating my profile and islander, the first thoughts that popped into my head were 'wow! look how pretty this game is!! The graphics and general design is gorgeous and I want to live here!!'. I thought that the gameplay was so bright and shiny, and I was very impressed with my first experience playing on a Nintendo Switch. One of my favourite features of AC:NH as a whole is the nature. There is so so much attention to detail, and it has quickly become my happy place! Being a nature nerd but also living with several disabilities has had such an impact on me throughout the course of the pandemic, because a wedge has been driven between me and my in-real-life happy places. Even though, obviously a game is not a substitute for the actual world, it has been very nice to have the ability to see insects and flowers and trees each and every day in the palm of my hands, and in a way that is much more interactive than simply scrolling through photography on my phone. Damn though, every single natural element in AC:NH looks beautiful and I first started playing when everything was covered with snow... it really was a winter wonderland on our island :) 

A photo showing an Animal Crossing New Horizons themed Nintendo Switch case, as well as an art piece showing an Animal Crossing character portrait

I'm totally going to use the photograph above as an opportunity to give a shout-out to the amazing artist, Lizzy aka Aries Arts. Just look at the incredibly gorgeous Animal Crossing portrait that they made for me when I won a giveaway over on their instagram!! You can read more in a post I shared all about it here. Honestly, I cannot thank Lizzy enough for creating this piece for me and I feel like every Animal Crossing fan needs one in their lives! 

So back to my first opinions of AC:NH... I loved the variety of character design options we could have right away. This is probably something that was offered in the New Leaf game, but as I mentioned, I am comparing this to my experiences playing Wild World. I didn't realise the graphics were quite as different until I played New Horizons. It was great for the early 2000's but let's just say, I am so glad we have gotten this far with game development, haha! I also loved to discover that we still have many of the original villager cast of characters (and lots of newbies, for me anyway!). I missed these cuties so much!! Back when my sister & I played AC:WW, our favourite animal friend was always Chevre, the goat, and YAY!! She's still around :) My other personal favourites were Lily and Mint. I never see anyone online mentioning Mint T_T so I don't know if she's around nowadays. I am crossing my fingers that I can get hold of an Amiibo card for her... wish me luck! 

The most amazing thing happened when I obtained my first Nook Miles ticket and boarded a Dodo Airlines flight to explore a new island. Lily was there!! What are the chances of that!? I was over the moon to say the least that I could invite her to move onto our islander and there's she's been since January 2021. Who are your favourite villagers/islanders? 

a screenshot from Animal Crossing New Horizon of a character talking to frog called Lily. It is snowing and there are flowers and snow on the ground.

A screenshot of two Animal Crossing New Horizon characters, a human, a blue goat and a white goat, all wearing very cute dresses

Some other features that I was very happy to discover within my first week of gameplay were the fact that it's so easy to fish and the screenshot/photo-taking options! Back when I played on my Nintendo DS, I don't know why but I found it super difficult to fish and so I barely ever attempted to. It sucked because I was really curious about the species they'd included in the game, so I am delighted now that it is really simple to catch fish and I am very much loving how detailed the creatures are! I have set up a mini aquarium in my house because I just want to look at them all the time!! What are your favourite sea creatures on the game? I am yet to encounter sharks so I am super excited about that in the future :) I, of course, didn't have Harv's Island and his photo studio rooms at first, but I loved the filters you could use when taking screenshots and how you could zoom in, change the viewpoint, etc. Like, did you even play if you didn't take loads of cute pictures to share on social media?? :D Thank you Nintendo for giving me aesthetic choices! 

I have to admit that I was mortified when I initially got playing and couldn't locate Blathers and his museum anywhere, because that side of Animal Crossing has always been my firm favourite and I refused to believe that they were gone, but I wanted so desperately to start adding specimens to the museum collection. When Blathers finally showed up, I was so relieved!! And I am actually a fan of having to build up the museum from scratch. And guys, WHAT A MUSEUM IT IS!! I could not believe my eyes when I first got to explore the magnificent creation and I am slightly bitter that my islander can't set up home in it :D 

A screenshot from Animal Crossing New Horizons showing a happy character in front of a coral reef aquarium at the museum

A screenshot of gameplay in Animal Crossing New Horizons. A character with turquoise hair is smiling at a dinosaur fossil in the museum

I mean, how could I not fall in love with the AC:NH museum!?! The designers did a phenomenal job with it and every exhibit is so well thought out and intricate and it's been a joy to fill it with fossils and wildlife. The dinosaur bones are especially beautiful! Okay, I will be here all day talking about the museum, so onto my likes and dislikes after playing the game for around three months. 

Features I really like in AC: New Horizons

That Resetti is no longer a thing! As an adult, I know better than to turn my consoles off before saving, but omg that character was the most annoying thing ever back when I was thirteen/fourteen years old! I love that you cannot fall into fossil holes anymore, because that was bloody annoying, too!! I am a big fan of the reactions, mostly for the screenshot potential but also because they are so damn cute!! And I love that the islanders will respond to you :) Another feature that I think is great is how easily you can stock up on so many Nook Mile points. At the moment though, I have too many than to know what to do with! 

The festivals and special events, as well as the themed items, are such a wonderful edition to the gameplay. I am a sucker for celebrating things, especially those random commemoration days on the calendar, like National Popcorn Day. Who is in the same boat? So, you bet I am going to jump at every opportunity to celebrate special times on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Furthermore, those Super Mario items added for the recent 25th Anniversary are so cute!! I can now run around the island, catching butterflies and collecting fossils, dressed as Princess Peach. What more could I want? And those little mushroom furniture items... I want one in my real bedroom! Speaking of furniture, the way you can decorate and customise your home and island is so much fun!! I can live out all of my aesthetic dreams in one place... kawaii in the home, grunge on the beach :D AC:NH has got me covered! I very much like being able to craft so many interesting items, from apple hats to giant mossy rocks. Tell me about your favourite item and/or item to craft in the comments :) I'm really curious!

A photo of a bedroom on the game Animal Crossing New Horizons. It is filled with kawaii furniture. There is a pink haired character clapping and smiling

Features I dislike in AC: New Horizons

I feel like dislike is too strong a word, to be honest :') I adore this game and there are only a few things that I wish could be different or hope that they update in the future or whatever. I wish that you could make a huge house, a mansion even, or anything that your imagination could think of. That you could design your home in a construction-like building feature. I have only been playing for three months and I have already expanded my house as big as it can go, as far as I know. I love having a living room plus five extra rooms but this game has so many cool furniture pieces that I have a mighty need for never-ending space to fill with it all. 

I also wish that tools did not break so easily. I understand that the game needs to have features that make players work for things and complete tasks to obtain the items they require, however I still feel that there should be another feature to counterbalance this. I would love an option to bulk carry tools in my inventory, such as you can do with fruit. That way, I could always be carrying a fair amount of tools in case the one I'm using should break, but still allowing me to carry all of the goodies that I find whilst exploring.  I hate being all the way on the other side of the island and having to run back home to get another tool, however this is just a little annoyance of mine and I'm likely complaining too much :D we all have our things...

BUT I assume that everyone finds the wasps and tarantulas to be a pain!! The wasps, I can deal with. I have gotten used to them, and can mostly catch them before they get a chance to sting my islander. The tarantulas, on the other hand, always pop out of nowhere and its a little frustrating to say the least. I have managed to catch several now and they are very awesome-looking. My islander even has a 'pet' one in her home, but still! I don't know if that makes up for it... what do you think? The only other minor irk that I have with AC:NH is that when you visit your animal friends at their house and they happen to be crafting something, it's more often than not, for me, is an item that I already know how to make. Of course, when I start using Nintendo Online and visiting my friends/they visit me, I can leave these recipe cards about for them to collect. Right now though, I just have a stockpile and it's a little annoying. I know that they need to slowly give players all of the recipes but I'm impatient by nature. Help :D

A photograph of a coral-coloured nintendo switch console and two amiibo cards of a goat character and a frog character

So, those were my thoughts and feelings and opinions about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I hope I didn't bore you all and that if you were on the fence about investing in your copy of the game, that I have persuaded you because it really is a lovely thing to pass the time, especially during lockdown. I find it so relaxing, and I can play for hours without getting bored, but that's because I love games like Animal Crossing, where you can just totter around, pretending, that instead of living in this mess of a world, you live on an pretty island with the sweetest animal buddies, and spend your days and nights picking fruit, planting trees and flowers, buying cute outfits, growing things and just have the perfect cottagecore-esque time! So, if that sounds like paradise to you, you need to get this game in your life!! 

After discussing the game, I am now desperate to go back to playing it and so I will finish up my post here :) By the way, if you did not already know, today is the Spring Equinox, so the official first day of the new season has sprung, and I am so ready for it :) Wishing you all a lovely Springtime!! 

Thankyou for reading!

Do you have any recommendations for games similar to AC:NH? I'd love to check them out!

Also, tell me if you have any dislikes when it comes to this game. What changes would you make? 

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Tuesday, 2 February 2021

What I got for Christmas 2020

Happy February, lovelies! It's taken me a while to get this post written up, but today, I'm going to show you guys some of the wonderful gifts I got for Christmas! I love having a nosey at what presents people get for special occasions, especially Christmas and so I hope that you guys enjoy checking out the things I was very kindly given by my sister and friends. I think it's nice to bring a little Christmas magic into February, and it was lovely writing up the notes for this post as it reminded me of some of the positives of 2020. There were some good things that happened in that mess of a year, after all :') Anyhow, that's enough rambling... time to show you all what I got for Christmas! 

A photograph showing a selection of Christmas presents: funko pop figures, a TNBC themed colouring book, a Hogwarts castle candle jar

I've tried to organise this post into loose categories, but to be honest, I'm just going to talk about the presents I was given according to the way I decided to photograph them. My sister absolutely spoilt me and you'll see how in a moment, and then we also decided to get one another presents 'from my niece'. My amazing friends sent me the most lovely and thoughtful gifts! Christmas just made me feel super loved, so a big thank you to all of you!! 

A photograph of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch game and a matching phone case

My sister only went and bought me Animal Crossing: New Horizons!!?! I have really wanted this game ever since it was released in March 2020, and it was tough to watch the hype going on with what seemed like every single person on the internet playing it! My friends were always asking me for my code so we could play together :') The problem is that I don't own a Nintendo Switch. I just couldn't afford to buy one last year with all of the extra expenses that occurred from being cooped up at home with access to online shopping and with using the lockdown as an excuse to finally redecorate my bedroom (about time!). Consoles are expensive and I will need to save up!

Luckily, my sister bought herself a switch for Christmas, along with her own game... we didn't actually know that you could only create one island per switch (it's clearly a cheeky way for Nintendo to make households have to purchase multiple consoles); however, she's been super awesome and has been letting me play around on her island. I cannot wait until I get to create my own!! I am obsessed and have been playing the game daily since December! I might be late to all the fun, but I don't care about that :D

A photograph showing a pink hello kitty and friends backpack, along with an Animal Crossing: New Horizons game and phone case

When it came to wrapping my Animal Crossing game, my sister got creative! She wrapped the tiny game inside several boxes, so that I had to open a smaller box that was inside each and it was very reminiscent of a game of pass-the-parcel, haha! She certainly did a great job in keeping me guessing because I had absolutely no idea that I was just about find AC:NH in the middle of all those boxes!! To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. I seriously almost cried :D 

Around half way through the boxes, there was a little gift that my sister included to give me a clue, but I was so invested with opening all of the layers that it didn't even cross my mind what could be at the end of it all. And I never expected to be getting the game... I mean, I don't have a switch, and my sister had wrapped her new one and put it under the tree to not give away the surprise. The little gift was the most adorable Animal Crossing phone case. I think it's based on New Leaf, and it's wonderful! I still can't believe she did all that!! Eeeeee!

Another present that she got me was this super cute mini Hello Kitty backpack. I love how colourful it is and the texture of the fake leather material it's made out of feels really nice :) Hello Kitty will always have a special place in my heart because she was the first kawaii character that I became obsessed with back in my early teens (well, aside from all of the anime characters I loved growing up), and she helped to kickstart my love of Japan. Therefore, I can't not adore anything that is Hello Kitty related! Can you guys remember the first kawaii character you loved? 

A photograph of several funko pop vinyl figures: a rainbow hello kitty, a classic hello kitty with a red hair bow, Galadriel from LOTRs, a little boy and his cat sidekick, and Mulan as Ping

Oh look! More Hello Kitty. She really is the way to my heart when it comes to presents! Now I'm going to talk about all of the fabulous Funko Pop! Vinyl figures that I got for Christmas 2020. For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a collector of vinyl figures, starting with Tokidoki one's and eventually getting really into all the various products produced by Funko. My collection is currently 150 figures strong! (And that's not including all of my non-Pops, oops). 

Five of the figures above are from my sister; one of them is 'from my niece' as it was something she picked out for me when my sister and her were out shopping :) I mean, my sister helped her by taking her straight to the Funko section but she chose the figure of Scar from The Lion King (2019). It's from the 'live action' movie, which I have no plan of ever watching because The Lion King (1994) and The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998) are my favourites, and I'm sure I won't enjoy a CGI adaptation of the classic. Have any of you guys ever seen it? If so, what did you think? Regardless, I think that it's super cool that my niece happened to opt for Scar, as he's my favourite Disney villain! I am very much into toy photography (you can check out my dedicated instagram here), so I always appreciate new figures for taking photos. 

I have a Pop in a Box subscription, where you are sent a random Pop each month from your wishlist. You can go through the 'catalogue' on the website and mark a thumbs up or a thumbs down on the figures, and also record any that you have in your collection. Using Pop in a Box makes it easier for my loved ones to buy me Funko that I don't have already and that they know I'm going to love. I just gave my sister my password so that she can log in and purchase items from my wishlist for my birthday or Christmas or whatever. So that's what she did this time around and from my thumbs up list chose the tempted version of the Lord of the Ring's Galadriel, Mulan as Ping, the classic Hello Kitty: flocked edition (that means it's furry), and Monster Hunter's Lute & Navirou. Oh my gosh, I loved them all so much!! 

A photograph showing a green stripy scarf, a Harry Potter candle jar, a llama notebook and a baubel with pink Pusheen the cat socks inside

The rainbow Hello Kitty was a marvellous surprise from my Amazon wishlist :) My friend and fellow blogger Kim bought her for me and it's such a gorgeous Pop!! Thank you very much!! Be sure to go and check out Kim's blog: Chimmyville. This Hello Kitty is a Pride edition Pop! and part of the proceeds from its sale are donated to the It Gets Better project. That's another reason why I am so delighted with it! 

Another of my fabulous friends, who is also a fellow blogger over at Estellosaurus, made me the most amazing scarf for Christmas! She actually handmade it!? And it's so soft and snug and beautifully put-together. It makes my heart so happy when I think about all of the work and thought that went into the creation of this scarf! Estelle used different shades of green because she knows it's my favourite colour. I adore it! It screams Slytherin vibes, too, which I'm all for because when I wear it, I'm repping my main man Severus Snape ;). Whenever I wear it, I don't want to take it off which is a big deal for me as I've never liked wearing scarves. They usually annoy me so quickly and make me feel stuffy, but not this one. Thanks so much, Estelle!!

The candle jar above was what my best friend got me for Christmas, and I cannot wait to display it on my Harry Potter shelves! I'm still in the process of decorating and constantly rearranging things in my bedroom, so, for now, I'm keeping it inside the box she packaged it in to prevent it getting smashed as it made of glass. On the jar is some gorgeous artwork of the Hogwarts Castle from Harry Potter, along with the Patronus' of several characters. There's a doe on there, which might represent Lily Potter, but I've decided it's for Snape, whether it is or is not! I love the monochrome colour scheme and the twine wrapped around the rim of the jar, along with the charm attached to it, is a very nice touch. It's gonna look even more pretty when there's a candle glowing in it. 

My friend Sophie sent me a box of goodies, that included gifts for my birthday and Christmas all together. I picked out two of my favourite things to show you guys, a pretty little notebook from Sass & Belle and a bauble filled with a pair of the cutest Pusheen Socks. I am a big fan of Pusheen and who doesn't love new socks? And I really like that the llama on the notebook actually looks like a llama, and not an alpaca. Even though alpacas are one of my favourite animals, it seems that companies don't know the difference, but the designers at Sass & Belle clearly do! I love it!

A photograph showing products from Kenji UK, a yellow fluffy duckling pencil case, a pastel rainbow cushion and two cute bathbombs

These presents are from another of my best friends, who got me a load of cute stuff from one of my favourite stores, Kenji! I am in love with all the these cute gifts :) I mean, look how flippin' adorable the duckling pencil case is!! It has such a unique design and I feel like I'm never gonna be able to bring myself to use it because it's super soft and I don't want it to get messy. The bright yellow is so eye-catching and pretty! I am looking forward to displaying the rainbow cushion on my bed once I get my new double... which should be very soon! Yay!! My favourite thing about this cushion is that the colours are pastel. The bathbombs from Bomb Cosmetics smell great, and it's a little tough to see but one of them has an orange squirrel on top, which is so sweet! I can never have too many bathbombs. I want to say a huge thank you to both of my besties, Jess & Aaron for their awesome gifts! Love you, guys!!

A photograph showing Harry Potter stickers, a Nightmare Before Christmas colouring book, a Pusheen the cat tote bag with pink and white stripes

The final bunch of Christmas presents that I'm going to talk about were all sent to me by my wonderful friends that I've met via the instagram toy photography community. They have all become great friends, who give me and my photography so much love and support. I cannot thank them enough for being so amazing!! Many of the friends I've met are German, and have been so kind when it comes to helping me to approve my knowledge of the language (if you didn't already know, I am trying to learn German. I have a long way to go yet!). They are so awesome!! For Christmas, many of my toy photography friends surprised me with gifts! We had agreed to exchange Christmas cards, but they sent me more :') I can't show off everything that I received, so I just picked out something to represent everyone. 

The Harry Potter sticker pack is from Dinchen, and I cannot wait to use them eventually, when I can convince myself to not keep them in the packet forever! Haha! They are too cute :) Dinchen also sent me some lovely mermaidy stationery and a tiny monkey plush, as well as a brilliant pop-up Christmas card! My friend Thorsten & his wife, Lena, sent me the incredibly adorable tiny snowman & pink Santa Claus erasers in the photo above! Accompanying the erasers was a box of wonderful presents, such as figures and chocolate and the cutest wrapping paper I've literally ever seen! Rebekka sent me the pretty calendar bookmarks along with chocolates, spiced tea drinks and some lovely bookmarks and postcards showing her books. She's an author, which is fantastic!! 

My friend Stina sent a box with presents for me, my sister and my niece, and I chose to include the Pusheen tote bag because of how much the design stands out! It's very cute and as I mentioned earlier, I love Pusheen!! How nice are the pink and white 'candy stripes'? I'm going to be taking this cutie shopping with me and showing it off :) Lastly, I received a huge box from Stefan & Romy, with so much inside that I could have written an entire post just about that! Romy picked out this epic The Nightmare Before Christmas colouring book and it's so detailed! I've never had a colouring book like it before, and it's another gift that I don't know if I ever want to use as it's too nice :D Just look at the artwork on the cover! It's even more intricate and fancy inside!! The tiny pink Pusheen figure was also from Romy and Stefan, and it went onto my cute Japanese shelf right away. It's so precious. 

A photograph of an Animal Crossing phone case featuring lots of cute animal characters

I also received a beautiful enamel pin from Natalee who blogs over at There Might Be Coffee, but I am planning to do a separate post dedicated to that because it's from an awesome independent business called Quirkory, who's pins I have been lusting after for ages and I want to give them a proper shout out :)  


So, there's my favourite things that I got for Christmas 2020! I feel so blessed to have such phenomenal people in my life. 2020 was a mess and the only thing that kept me going was all of my loved ones, all of my wonderful friends, who make me feel special :') I hope that they all enjoyed my presents and cards just as much! And that this post was an interesting read for you all. I just want to give a little disclaimer that I'm showing my presents in this post because I want to share my joy with you all, and I in no way mean for it to come across as bragging, etc. As I said, I enjoy reading these kinds of posts and I know that lots of others do, too. I'd love to hear about what you got for Christmas, so please leave me a comment telling me all about your favourite gift that you gave or received. 

Thankyou for reading!

Are you a fan of Christmas Time?

What's your favourite thing about it? 

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Sunday, 31 January 2021

January 2021 Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Hi guys! It's time to share my first wishlist of 2021, and also my first kawaii & geeky wishlist post for MONTHS now!! To be honest, I felt really unmotivated last year when it came to writing wishlists (and blog posts in general, oops...) because well, 2020 was a shitshow; I found myself feeling gloomy for most of the year and not really wanting anything other than books and yummy snacks and gifts for sending in snailmail to my lovely friends across the globe. However, I am crossing my fingers and toes that twenty-twenty one is better! And thus, I'm trying to get back into my usual way of blogging, which includes finishing off each month by sharing a list of cute and fandom-related goodies from around the internet that I am currently lusting over :) Enjoy! 

1. Funko Tokidoki Sandy Pop! Vinyl If you've been a regular reader of my blog for a while, you will know that I am a big fan of the super cute Italian brand, Tokidoki. I have been collecting their vinyl figures for years now and I especially love their stationery, too. You may also be able to imagine how excited I was earlier this month when Funko announced that they have teamed up with Tokidoki to bring us four Pop! vinyl figures. As unicornos were the first tokidoki figures that kickstarted my love for the brand, there's just something about the look of the unicorno Pop! that I don't like, but I will be hopefully adding the other three to my collection! Vinyl toys are one of my most favourite things in the world, and this wishlist, as you can see, is pretty vinyl toy heavy! Sorry, not sorry :D 

2. Kawaii Cat Paw Pastel Switch Case Those of you who follow me over on my social media, particularly on instagram, more than likely know that for Christmas, my sister surprised me with Animal Crossing: New Horizons!! Eeeee! I am very late to the game, as I don't own a Nintendo Switch and definitely couldn't afford one last year with decorating my bedroom and whatnot, so I had to watch everyone playing during the release hype and it sucked T_T. Well, my sister only went and bought a switch, and she has been letting me play around on her island ever since, until I can get my own switch and play the game she got for me! I have recently been looking around for some accessories ready for when I can get a console of my own, and I came across this lovely pastel blue cat themed case. I need it in my life! 

3. PomPomPurin Kitten Plush Keychain This item almost didn't make it onto this month's wishlist because I actually wanted another similar item from Artbox, the larger PomPomPurin Kitten plushie. It's sold out though *cry cry*! I decided that the collection is too cute not to feature at all, and so wanted to show off the keychain version to you guys. My all-time favourite Sanrio characters are Kuromi and PomPomPurin, and I LOVE cats, making this PomPomPurin kitten mascot collection purrrrfect for me. I hope I can get my paws on that plushie some day! Do you guys have a favourite Sanrio character? 

4. Funko Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Eduardo Pop! Vinyl Ever since I started my Funko Pop! collection back in 2015, I have been hoping that they would create a figure of Eduardo, and they finally have!! The reason why there is so many Funko figures in today's post is because there's been a release event throughout the month called the Funko Fair, and we are getting to learn about all of the upcoming products from the company. This means that the items I've chosen are only available for pre-order right now. Are there any that you guys are excited about? Anyhow, when I was a kid, I absolutely adored Eduardo from the Cartoon Network show Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2004-2009). He was such a sweetheart, an anxious wreck which I could very much relate to, and I just wanted to give him a big hug! (I loved Coco, too, and would constantly imitate her, haha! Let's hope they create a Pop! of Coco as well). He's gonna look so cute on display in my room :) 

5. A5 Gudetama Spinout Notebook The Sanrio character Gudetama has definitely grown on me! More so after learning about the backstory of this little egg character, and finding that it resonated with me. I'm still not 100% sold on his sad expression, but there's so much cute merch available for him that it's difficult not to like him! This notebook, for example, is lovely. I have to admit that the main reason I want this is because of the Japanese writing, so Gudetama is a bonus. I liked it even better than I read that it's made from recycled paper, which is cool and I am curious to discover what the quality is like. I've not purchased anything from Typo before. I want to change that in 2021! Do any of you like Typo? 

6. Funko His Dark Materials Lyra Pop! Vinyl Early last year, I watched the BBC series that was adapted from a book of the same name by Phillip Pullman, after I saw so many people recommending it. I'm glad I did because I loved it and immediately had a mighty need to acquire the book series. I am very much looking forward to reading them! At the moment, I'm around half way through the season 2 of the show, and it's just as great so far! I'm delighted that Funko have chosen to make merch :) Who else has read the books or watched the show? 

7. The Witcher Wild Hunt Yennefer Nendoroid My favourite watch of 2020 was by far Netflix's The Witcher. I thought it was brilliant!! I've never played the games and am yet to read the books that inspired them all, so I don't know how accurate the show was to the original storyline, but as a late birthday present to myself, I got the book set (thanks to my best friend's parents and the birthday money they very kindly gave me!). I showed it off over on my tiktok when it arrived! Yennefer was my favourite character, and I cannot wait to learn more about her. I have wanted to get a nendoroid figure for the longest time, and I am thinking that this one should be my first! 

8. AMUSE KuneKune Utsubo Moray Eel Plush This is another plushie where I had to opt for second best! Tofu Cute were selling the big eel plushies and they sold like hot cakes, as they saying goes. I really need one in my life!! But a mini one will have to do for now :) I am a collector of plushies from the Japanese brand, Amuse (I collect too many things, haha!), and I think it's so fabulous that they have made eels. It's so random! How could I not want one!? Tofu Cute's Instagram reels and tiktok videos with the eel plushies in haven't helped though!! 

9. PopMart Pucky Forest Fairies Blind Box I have had my eyes on PopMart's wonderful figure collections for ages and I thought it was about time that I looked for a seller in the UK! Earlier this month, I bought my first from Didi Inspired Gifts, and I have fallen in love with them!! They were from the PopMart X Momiji range, so now I want to venture into Pucky territory, starting with a super cute fantasy/nature collection. I blame my friend Estelle, who blogs over at Estellosaurus. Her latest Youtube video is an unboxing of Pucky and more, all of which she purchased from the website linked here. The packaging was so cute and I'm going to have to do a haul soon. It's all your fault, Estelle! 

So, there's my first kawaii & geeky wishlist of the year! I hope you all enjoyed reading, despite it being so full of vinyl figures! I am just a little obsessed with them, and it was a challenge not to include several on every wishlist I've ever written :D I'll be back with another wishlist at the end of February, but for now, I would love to hear what's on your wishlist this month! 

Thankyou for reading! 

Wishing you all a wonderful February! 

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Thursday, 7 January 2021

New Years Tag | Hello 2021

Hi lovelies! I hope the start of the year has been good for you all  (if not, sending you virtual hugs!). During the lead up to January, I was trying to think of a New Years themed post, because well, it's just the obligatory thing to post on a blog. However, I'm not a huge fan of goals or resolutions posts, at least for myself, anymore. I just find that they make me put a huge amount of pressure on myself to complete the tasks and then give my readers updates, and when it comes to my own mental health, it is not a great idea... so yeah, I searched my brain for something different I could share with you all. And I eventually thought why not create a tag? That way, those of you who feel the same as I do when it comes to sharing your goals for the year on the internet (or even making concentre goals at all) would still be able to chat about the start of a new year on your blog! I hope you guys enjoy reading my answers and please feel free to do the tag, but be sure to tag me so I can check your post :) Happy New Year Everyone!! 

Tags always include rules, right? So, here's mine: 

1) Copy the questions to your blog,

2) Link back to my original post, and also thank the person who tagged you (linking theirs, too),

3) Answer the questions, 

4) Add your own question (if you want to), 

5) Tag 4-6 friends to answer it,

6) Give yourself a pat on the back. You blogged!! You're awesome! 

A photo showing a little ornament of a maneki neko or lucky cat. It is sitting on silver tinsel.

And here are my answers. Enjoy! 

1) Let's start by looking back at 2020. What were three good things that happened to you?

If you follow me over on instagram, then you'll more than likely know that last year, my sister & I welcomed our niece into our home. She cannot live with her parents, for reasons that I would never disclose on the internet, so she's living with us permanently; although, technically with my sister, but we live together at the moment so yeah, we have a very curious and energetic two year old in our lives now! She's honestly brought so much joy back into our home, which hadn't felt the same ever since our mom passed away. Now, the house is filled with laughter and constant adorableness. So of course, Fifi is the best thing that happened for me in 2020 :)  

Also, throughout the year, my amazing friends seriously spoilt me with all of the gifts and letters and packages they sent to me!! It was so very kind of them and I am ever so grateful! I feel very loved :') And good thing no.3 has to be Animal Crossing coming into my life at Christmas Time!! Eeee! I'm already obsessed, and it was even a struggle to pry myself off the game this evening to write this post, haha! 

2) What was a positive to come out of spending all that time at home?

To be honest, living the chronic illness life means that I spend the majority of my existence at home anyway. Alongside that, I've always been a hermit who prefers my own company, tucked away indoors with a good book or show/movie to get lost in. So, 2020 wasn't a massive change for me when it came to lockdown. The only struggles I've had is not being able to see my best friends (and the challenge of trying to get a grocery delivery slot, and in the end being forced to venture to the supermarket, even though I have asthma and a crappy immune system... ugh). 

Negativity aside, something that happened due to being at home and seeing so many people decorating whilst browsing online is that it gave me the kick up the butt that I needed to finally decorate my own room! I'd been delaying it for years because of life problems, so it feels awesome to have my new furniture assembled, wallpaper up and I'm a few steps away from finishing converting the built-in cupboard into my wardrobe! Hooray!! 

3) Did you start any new hobbies in 2020? Discover any new interests?

My answer to this question is a boring one, because I didn't begin any new hobbies! I already have too many hobbies and interests than I can handle as it is XD I fixate on one of them for a while, and then end up moving onto something else, but I will continue to partake in them all. I guess, I did end up colouring a lot more than usual, and that's mostly down to the fact that my friends bought me so many lovely colouring books from my amazon wishlist. Love you guys! 

A photo showing a plushie of a traditional japanese new year mascot. it is red and yellow, and is sitting on silver tinsel.

4) What was your best watch and/or read of 2020?

The best read for me was The NeverEnding Story by Michael Ende. I absolutely adored it! It was really enthralling and a wonderful journey to go on with the characters :) I haven't seen the movie since I was too young to remember, so it was a lovely surprise! I've been putting off re-watching the movie until I read the book, so I need to do that soon. It's actually one of my best reads ever! 

As for movies, that's a tough one. I watched 56 movies in 2020 (I keep a list... nerdy, I know!), and there were many that I enjoyed a lot. I finally watched Wreck It Ralph (2012) and Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) with my sister for her birthday back in April, and they were epic!! I regret not watching them sooner! The sequel was my favourite of the two. How about you? I also wanted a movie called Hippotamus (2017) that had a very interesting storyline.  Oh, The Nightingale (2018) was another good watch, and Netflix's Enola Holmes (2020). When it comes to TV shows, The Witcher was the highlight of my year. I watched it three times, and bought all of the books to read this year! It's amazing!! I also watched the adaptation of His Dark Materials and loved that (I've purchased the books now, too). Netflix's Cursed was awesome, as well. I've heard that it's been cancelled... I hope not! I finally watched the two part adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time from 2004, and it was fantastic! I need to add the book to my TBR list... 

5) Name five things or people that helped get you through the gloomy times?

- Music (and doing a lot of theatrical singalongs... my poor neighbours :D),

- YouTube (I watched way more YT than shows or movies in 2020. I practically live on YT!),

- Nature (my garden has always been my happy place, but even more so this year!),

- The internet!

- Writing (it's been a big help to focus my thoughts on a fantasy realm VS real life, haha),

And when it comes to people, my sister and my niece has been a massive help! As well as one of my closest online friends, Stina, who has become a best friend of mine through 2020; we have grown so close through talking almost everyday, and I don't know what I'd have done without her :) All of my online, and fellow blogger, friends had a huge impact on my life last year and I cannot thank them enough! I have the most fabulous friends!! 

6) Okay, phew! We can forget last year now!! Share something you want to achieve this year.

I want to read more. I said that at the beginning of 2020, yet for some reason, I just couldn't do it. My mental health wasn't great because of all that was going on in the world, and then I was super busy preparing for the arrival of my niece and then adjusting to all of the changes to my life. So yeah, I need to read all of the books that I kept on buying last year and not reading... oops. I also want to, of course, complete my room decorating, and I want give more attention to writing my novel. 

7) Tell us three things you're looking forward to.

I am always looking forward to the joys that nature will bring into my life every year, the changing of the seasons and what delights will come with them. All of the wildlife encounters I might have, and the shots that I may manage to get on my camera. It's so exciting to me because I'm a massive nature geek :D

That, and Animal Crossing!! Getting a switch of my own (because right now, I'm playing on my sisters) and all of the games I'll be able to play. It has been a while since I've been able to game, and I cannot wait to play more!! 

8) Other than our current global situation, what's one thing in your life that you'd like to change in 2021? 

Umm, the only aspects of my life that I would like to improve upon this year that I can think of right now, are my German language skills and my confidence. I have been learning German for a while now, and I haven't got as far as I would have liked to, thus I need to up my game and practice every single day! And even though I have come a long lonnnnnng way with my self-love, there's still a lot that I need to work on :) Maybe 2021 will be my year!

A photo of a maneki neko or japanese/chinese lucky cat ornament, sitting on silver tinsel.

The Questions:

1. Let's start by looking back at 2020. What were three good things that happened to you?

2. What was a positive to come out of spending all that time at home? 

3. Did you start any new hobbies in 2020? Discover any new interests? 

4. What was your best watch and/or read of 2020?

5. Name five things or people that helped get you through the gloomy times?

6. Okay, phew! We can forget last year now!! Share something you want to achieve this year.

7. Tell us three things you're looking forward to.

8. Other than our current global situation, what's one thing in your life that you'd like to change in 2021? 

I tag: 

Jess from Little Piink Duck

Natalee from There Might Be Coffee

Estelle from Estellosaurus 

Kim from Chimmyville

Cate from Cateaclysmic

and Eleanor from MxrshmallowQueen 

Well, it was quite cathartic to look back on 2020 in a positive light :D I hope reading my post helped you guys feel better about that shitshow! And that it's gotten you feeling at least a little optimistic about the next twelve months :) Here's to a year full of fun moments, lots of happy mail, yummy food, good movies and vaccinations! Yay!! 

Thankyou for reading! 

One final question for today, what new releases are you excited for in 2021? 

movies, games, shows, products... whatever it is, tell me :)

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Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Dinojar Ghibli Friends Kickstarter Goodies

Hey everyone! Happy New Year!! Thank goodness 2020 has been and gone... it feels great to say goodbye to those dreadful days. I know the start of this year at least won't be very different, but I'm trying to embrace the whole 'new year, new leaf' thing, and after a year of getting used to the changes, I feel more prepared for deal with this new normal. Fingers crossed I can be more productive because of that, starting with my blog! Anyhow, gloom and new leaves aside, for today's post, I'm serving you a dose of cuteness  Calling all Studio Ghibli fans, especially! I hope you guys enjoy reading :) 

A photo of a business card for Dinojar Studios. The background is white and peach in colour and there is a little green dinosaur sitting in a jar

So, back in April 2020, towards the end of the month, I backed a kickstarter project that I was super excited about!! Dinojar/Dinojar Studio, a lovely artist based in Singapore, had set up the most adorable project dedicated to Studio Ghibli characters, focusing on pins, but also offering stickers, too. As soon as I set eyes on the designs over on Dinojar's instagram (be sure to go give them a follow), I had a mighty need to add some of the pin badges to my ever-growing collection! However, the struggle was real when it came to choosing which pins I wanted most!! I limited myself to two enamel pins, and after a few days of deliberation, I finally had my favourites settled on. I cannot wait to show them to you guys!! Although, if you follow me over on instagram then you'll have likely already seen the gorgeous items I received (because they arrived a few months ago now and life has just gotten in the way of me blogging about them, oops...). 

A photo showing a business card for Dinojar Studios, plus a thankyou note for backing their kickstarter project

How sweet is this thankyou note! I love when artists/businesses do this :) 

Before I show off the super cute 'rewards' I got, a little more about the kickstarter project. If you've never heard of/used this website before, it's basically set up so that small businesses and independent artists can create products via crowd funding. They will set a goal of how much money they need in order to make the product(s) they are proposing and people can pledge to contribute to the project. If the artist doesn't manage to reach their monetary goal, then the project backers will be refunded. But if they do gain the support they need, then they can make the products, and everyone is happy! Kickstarter is a wonderful idea and it feels great to support small businesses that little bit more than if you were just pursuing something from their online store :) Many artists also offer special reward tiers that will be unlocked once they pass their initial contribution goal, and what's more? Most kickstarter projects come with a promise of a freebie for backers, which is so lovely!

The Ghibli Friends Enamel Pins kickstarter project launched by Dinojar Studio offered twelve potential characters, and as more of the goal was reached, each of these designs was unlocked. Here's a list of the Studio Ghibli characters included: Totoro, Haku in his human form, Chihiro, Pazu, Kiki & Jiji, a Soot Sprite, Mei, the Catbus, No Face, Dragon Haku, Chibi-Totoro with a little acorn in hand, and Sheeta. Honestly, each and every design was stunning and so sweet and I wanted them all T_T. I unfortunately have a budget to stick to, so in the end I opted for Mei and Dragon Haku. The latter pin I knew I would be backing for as soon as I saw the design on Dinojar's instagram. I love dragons so much and the spirit of the Kohaku river is one of my favourites!! So let's see these cuties... 

A photo showing enamel pins of two Studio Ghibli characters: Dragon Haku and Mei, plus a sticker of Haku. They are surrounded by colourful polkadots

I am not sorry for the cuteness overload, haha! JUST LOOK HOW ADORABLE EVERYTHING IS!!!! *squeals*. My heart is happy everytime I look at my rewards from the Dinojar kickstarter. How could it not be?! Awww! As you can see above, I also decided to get a sticker, too, because I was torn between whether I wanted Dragon Haku and Haku in his human form more. I am yet to add a pin to my collection of Haku as a human, so I really wanted to, but everyone's favourite dragon boi won in the end... I mean, just look at him!! And Mei was just too cheerful not to get, but again, it was a tough decision between the Kiki & Jiji pin and this one :) It's all Dinojar's fault for designing too many brilliant pins!! :O 

Since it's been a while now, I can't remember prices exactly, but I'm pretty sure the pins were $14 (Singapore dollars) which works out at just under £8 each. What a fantastic price!! And I think stickers were $1! Wow... I was so impressed by the pricing for such adorable and intricate designs, so a big thankyou to Dinojar for being so awesome!!

A photo of an enamel pin, the character is dragon haku from the Studio Ghibli movie, Spirited Away. He is white, purple and mint in colour and has a cute solemn expression.

I fell in love with this little dragon baby as soon as I saw him! This is such a precious interpretation of Haku/Kohaku and I adore it! I really love the mint shade that has been chosen for his mane and tail fur; it's really pretty! I am a big fan of the overall pastel colour scheme of this pin, and think it's fantastic that his horns and whiskers stand out so much. Those whiskers though!! They might be my favourite feature of the entire pin. The depictions of dragons in Asian folklore is so unique and different to European folklore, and the whiskers as well as the snake-like appearance are something I think is beautiful! So, I very much appreciate the attention to detail that has gone in to making the whiskers look so eye-catching. At a very close second, in terms of favourite things, comes Haku's facial expression. It's so solemn and it looks like he's in deep contemplation/ is lost in thought, and I don't know, I can just relate it to a lot. Little solemn and/or moody faces are just too cute!! Wouldn't you all agree? I want to mention just how fluffy Haku looks!! I want to cuddle him! Also, those rosy cheeks go so well with the gold-plating. 

A photo showing two enamel pins of Studio Ghibli characters; Mei from My Neighbour Totoro and Dragon Haku from Spirited Away. Both are made by Dinojar Studio, and are very cute!

Guys, how sweet is this pin of Mei!? If you're not a Studio Ghibli fan... firstly, get off my blog. I'm only kidding; it's practically impossible to not be a fan of the creations of this amazing Japanese production company!! But if you have yet to enrich your lives by watching the movies, Mei is a character from My Neighbour Totoro (1988) and Dragon Haku is from Spirited Away (2001). I barely ever see any merch of Mei, and so I just couldn't pass up on backing this design. I really love how delighted Mei looks! She's going on a little adventure and has that expression of childish wonder and carelessness. It makes me think of my childhood when I was very young (Mei is supposed to be five, I believe but don't quote me on that) and my little adventures about the garden, collecting cool things I found and looking for bugs. Whenever I look at the pin, it puts a smile on my face, and furthermore, I picture the scene from the movie that inspired this design. It's so very cute! 

I love the contrast between the colours of the Dragon Haku pin and the Mei one. Her outfit and overlook look is bright, with vibrant, strong colours. Very summery and happy, and I especially like Mei's tiny yellow shoes and bag. One of the most precious features, in my opinion, is that Mei is swinging her bucket and water is spilling, because again, this just highlights the careless, free nature of children without a care in the world, whilst they are at play. She's skipping along, and probably hasn't even released that Chibi-Totoro is perched on top of her head. It's the sweetest image! 

A photo showing a sticker of a Studio Ghibli character, Haku. Designed by Dinojar. Haku is with his two little friends, a tiny chubby mouse and black bird.

Here's a close up of the Haku sticker I also backed. I've already popped this little cutie onto my laptop and he looks perfect, standing out so well due to the bold blue shade of his hair mostly! It's one of the best things about this design for me, as blue is up there in my top five favourite colours. How can a design be beautifully simplistic and somehow detailed at the same time!? Dinojar achieved that with their human Haku design, though! I absolutely adore that Boh (the chubby mouse) and smol version of Yubaba's bird have been incorporated into the design! Haku's got buddies with him and I love seeing these two characters in this form because it reminds me of when they didn't want to change back in the movie (sorry for the slight spoiler there!). 

The tiny smile on Haku's face just completes the whole design, and makes me audibly 'awwww!' every time I see it on my laptop. I don't know if it was a freebie, or I accidently ordered two stickers of the same design, or Dinojar didn't notice they'd packaged two by mistake, but either way, I was sent two of these lovely stickers so I will definitely be giving one away in the future :) 

A photo showing two enamel pins by Dinojar. They are of the Studio Ghibli characters, Mei and Dragon Haku. They are backed on gold enamel and are super cute!

The backing cards used to display the pins are super pretty. I'm lovin' the green ombre effect, and the dotting of little sparkles looks lovely. I almost wanted to keep them on their cards forever, but they are too stunning not to show off! So, alas, they are now in my ita bag :') Look how shiny the gold-plated enamel is!! I used to prefer silver-plating but gold makes everything glow and just highlights the colours so well. It draws your eyes into the design, and I think that's wonderful for when you out and about to get people to really notice your pins. Both of these pins are double-backed as well, so you don't have to worry that they might fall off your clothing/bags/whatever you pin them onto. Anyway, guys, I'd love to know which is your favourite of the two pins I purchased?

A final note that I'd like to make is that Dinojar launched a second Ghibli Friends kickstarter last year, featuring more adorable character designs and I so wish that I had the money free at the time to back another of their projects. I will certainly be trying to get my hands on some of those pins in the future, via Dinojar's Etsy shop. Most recently, Dinojar hosted another campaign for Avatar pins, so if that's something you're into, definitely go have a look at their instagram account to see the designs! 

I want to give a huge thankyou to Dinojar for creating such beautiful pins, and for always being so lovely on instagram. I am very happy to have some of your work in my enamel pin collection, and I am looking forward to your next projects! I hope you all enjoyed reading my first post of 2021!! Wishing you a marvellous year, guys, with good health and happy moments for you and your loved ones :) 

Thankyou for reading!

What is your favourite Studio Ghibli movie and/or character?

Are you a fellow collector of pins?
Or not, do you collect anything else? 

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